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    Win98 to Win2K Upgrade

    I'm going to document my journey from upgrading to a semi-working install of Windows 98 SE (i.e. it only crashes about twice a day) to Windows 2000 Professional. First, here's the system info:

    Athlon 650
    Epox 7KXA mobo (Via KX133 chipset)
    Antec PP-303X 300W Power supply
    192MB Crucial 133 Cas3 RAM
    Promise Ultra66 Controller
    27gig Maxtor hard drive (7200RPM)
    52x Creative Labs CD-ROM
    4x Hitachi DVD
    4x2x24 Creative Labs CDRW
    Generic floppy
    ATI Rage Fury 32MB video card
    ATI TV-Wonder
    Sound Blaster Live! Value OEM (with digital out)
    Netgear FA310X network card

    Known quirks:
    1. The PCConcepts wireless keyboard I have (has an included mouse pointer) has always given me some kind of problems. But it was the only one that fit my needs I could find. Sometimes, especially under extreme use, the mouse pointer will go simply berserk, and nothing but a restart will fix it. Basically, anytime you try to move it or click something, it jumps wildly across the screen. This also happens anytime you try to come out of standby (so, no standby for me). This has happened on other computers as well (and also created additional problems, such as problems shutting down, etc.).

    2. System resources are always low. As I type this, it's at 18%. Right now I have 6 browser windows open, Outlook 2000, Windows Explorer, BidWatch (for OnSale), QVTNet (telnet program), AIM, ICQ, @Guard, Getright, and of course Notepad. There's also a few small programs running in the background, mainly the ATI icon, the onscreen display for my keyboard (has volume controls and what-not), etc. I've disabled all the Creative programs that load up for the SBLive, so that saved some of my resources there. I also had this same problem with the same configuration except using a Gigabyte board, so it shouldn't be the Via drivers doing it. No problems with an old Celeron 333 and a BX board, btw.

    3. Networking seems a bit odd. If I reboot this computer, it can't see my Linux PC. Both have static IP's set for the internal network. Before, I could fix that by either a.) doing a warm reboot by holding the shift key when I reboot, or b.) after Win98 boots, unplug the network cable for about five seconds and plug back in. However, now I have to go to the Linux box, shut down the eth0 interface, then bring it back up. Irritating to say the least. I hear that getting a switch, and therefore using shorter cables as well, will fix that. We'll see.

    Things I know won't work:
    1. The ATI TV-Wonder will not work in Win2K, at least not until they get newer drivers. If you have the older version (ISA instead of PCI), then you're in luck. The drivers for the All-In-Wonder should work for you. Seems those of us who decided to get the newer tech (a.k.a. the PCI version) have to keep waiting for drivers.

    2. The special features on my keyboard such as volume, close, etc. will not work. This seems to be a problem with most multimedia keyboards. Until new drivers come out, we just have to live without them.

    Enough already, let's get going!

    First, make sure anything that isn't on Microsoft's HCL has Win2K drivers. If it doesn't, make sure it's something you're willing to do without if you can't get the NT4 or Win9x drivers to work for it. Check into other people's experiences with Win2K, so you can learn from their mistakes the easy way.

    Second, decide if you would rather have a clean install (i.e. no trace of your Win9x settings) or an upgrade. Most people prefer the clean install method; however, I'm going to concentrate on the upgrade path. Each has their upside and downside. For example, on machines that you KNOW has an APM bios, but Win2K refuses to acknowledge it, it will use APM if you did an upgrade over a Win9x install that had APM support installed (no more "Your machine is safe to shutdown but I don't feel like doing it for you" messages). There are ways around this, but they don't always work (I've tried them, sometimes with success). If you decide to do a clean install, make sure you have ALL your important data backed up, and any program CD's you wish to reinstall (this is a good idea even if you're upgrading).

    Third, if you want to do a dual-boot, make sure Win9x is already installed, then install Win2K. If you do it the other way around, Win9x will wipe out Win2K's boot manager, and you'll have no easy way back into Win2K. Do it the other way around, and both can exist happily side by side. I won't go into depth about setting up a dual-boot configuration here, there are too many good articles about it (checkout Maximum PC's article on this, it's great).

    NOW can we start?

    Sure, it's time to start our journey. The first step I'm going to take is downloading new drivers for all my devices. While it's not absolutely necessary, it's usually a good idea (if you have a modem for example, you wouldn't want to boot to Win2K only to find you have no modem drivers, and can't get online to download them). First up, some new ATI Rage Fury drivers. So, I head on over to their Special Drivers section, and download the newest Win2K drivers. Since that's a 12.3MB file, It's going to take a while until it's finished.

    While I'm waiting for that, I go ahead and unhook the TV-Wonder and hook my 13" TV back up. No use keeping it plugged in, until some drivers get released. Ok, got that downloaded, now it's time for the SBLive drivers. Many of you have said you can't find the Win2K drivers, that's because it's not posted under their drivers section, you have to go to their LiveWare site. So I head over there and download the files needed. Explorer's starting to act weird, system resources are down to 12%. Time to close some unneeded programs. Ok, back up at 34% (and I'm supposed to be HAPPY about that?). While I'm doing that, I check out Tom's Hardware site to get the AGP fixes for the KX133 board. If you're running or going to run Win2K on a KX133 motherboard, a new viaagp.sys and turning agp on for the Epox 7KXA are required reading over at Tom's Hardware.

    Now I browse over to Promise's site to get a new driver for my Ultra66 Controller. Not that I really need it, the included drivers seem to work fine. But, if we always settled for what was known to work, we wouldn't ever have any fun, would we? I head over there and select the Ultra66. Looks like they've added a new bios since I was here last. Well, everything seems to be working fine with it, so there's no need to flash the bios, right? So, I download the new bios and the Win2K driver while I'm at it. When I'm ready to try it out, Explorer decides to completely lock up. After I get that cleared up, I notice over at SlotA.com that they have a new via inf driver posted. I may try it later, but I'm going to just try the hack I mentioned above for now, since there's no feedback on this driver yet. But, I do download the usb driver. Then I download the newest bios for my Epox 7KXA motherboard. Ok, time for a reboot, flash the ultra66's bios, and start the upgrade!

    Here's some screenshots of the installation:

    Here's where I also ran into my first snag. Setup would ALWAYS stall at this point:

    Even after a complete shutdown, waiting a minute, then booting back up didn't fix it. So I just stuck the CD into a different drive (originally tried it in the DVD drive which was on the Promise Controller, then tried on the CDRW drive on the motherboard's second IDE channel). So far, so good.

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